05 Jun Defaulting to Action
Our next discovery along the EQ spectrum is defaulting to action. Being action oriented should be considered “table stakes” for courageous leaders. It’s the required habit of leaders who establish legitimacy for themselves by showing up every day to DO IT!
Initiating meaningful action requires courage, energy and passion. Sustaining momentum requires achievement and grit. Keep in mind, most everyone on earth is willing to take an average amount of initiative and complete an average amount of work. Courageous leaders understand what drives them and continually tap their purpose and beliefs to move forward.
“The game is played away from the ball. We must do all the little things in order to get the big things accomplished.” – Dr. Lee Manzer
Taking action is about “getting shit done”. It’s an exhibition of competency and ability that provides evidence of performance. Taking action is mission-critical to advancing our purpose.
The need for speed and agility in the marketplace means those individuals and organizations that hesitate to take meaningful, daily action that advances their purpose, will be overtaken by those who don’t. We embrace business as an infinite game fueled by purpose, leadership and effort. When our competitive spirit is ignited to continually adapt and compete in this game, inspiration fuels our willingness to extend the intellectual, physical and emotional effort required. We don’t simply participate, we bring everyone forward by leading the race.
“Everyone is willing to extend an average amount of effort. That’s why we refer to it as average. The difference between being average and being great is the willingness to extend a bit more effort.” ― Dr. Lee Manzer
Benefits of Action
When we are properly motivated and approach our day-to-day activities with vigor, our achievements inform our grit and build our resilience to life’s inevitable challenges.
We are all motivated to get better at the things we care most about, self-direct our activities and be part of something greater than ourselves. Being active within our families, communities and companies, we model the way for others and add value to the lives of those we serve.
Action Oriented individuals
- Advance their purpose
- Seize opportunities
- Accurately assess risk / identify rational vs. irrational fears
- Establish challenging goals
- Have confidence to act
- Enjoy working hard
The Bottom Line
Chance favors the prepared. By taking action, we chart our own path through life, “make our own luck” and avoid the unnecessary suffering that comes from letting life happen to us.
Tactics for Action
- Energize. Be intentional about how you create and expend energy. Sleep, nutrition and exercise are fundamental to our ability to act. Carefully consider how you spend “white space” and use it in a way that prepares you for action.
- Orient & Prioritize. Take inventory of your work and how it aligns with your personal values. If it is a challenge to find alignment, consider a shift or pivot. Plan each day in a way that focuses on what you can accomplish and identify at least one action every day that will move your purpose forward.
- Get an early start. Do 10% of each task immediately after it is assigned to better understand what it will take to finish the rest. Do something to advance your initiatives every day.
- Release the idea of perfect. Operating with some level of uncertainty is required for high performers. Believe in the ability of others to contribute in a meaningful way and release the need to know everything.
- Build confidence. Focus on your strengths. Engage with resources that expand your knowledge around subjects you are most passionate about. Begin working with a coach, read books, take a course. Tap your positive potential by embracing and acting with a growth mindset!
- Start small. Keep in mind the game is played away from the ball. Break the big things down into smaller parts. Treat every mistake as a chance to learn. There is nothing gained by sitting on the sideline.
What are your best practices to properly orient yourself and prepare for the demands of each day?
For further reading, see the following resources:
- Art Williams Just Do It Speech
- For further reading, see competency 1: “Action Oriented” in the Korn Ferry Leadership Architect™ FYI® for your improvement.
- Drive by Daniel Pink
- RSA Summary Video of “Drive” by Daniel Pink
- Today Matters by John Maxwell
Next: Valuing Differences